Tom Craddick Faces Ethics Complaint

AUSTIN (AP) - House Speaker Tom Craddick is facing an ethics complaint over campaign payments and state health insurance benefits he provided for his daughter.

The former lobbyist is employed by her father as a political consultant.  The complaint against Republican Craddick was filed this week by Houston-area Democratic activist John Cobarruvias.

The complaint alleges Craddick has run afoul of laws designed to prevent politicians and their families from living off campaign accounts.  Craddick lawyer Ed Shack denies the speaker violated any ethics provisions.

Records show Tom Craddick has paid Christi Craddick about $12,000 a month for her consultant work -- for a total of more than $600,000 since 2003.

The Associated Press reports the legislator also helped craft a law in 1997 that made his adult daughter eligible for lifetime state health insurance as long as she doesn't marry.  That's the rub, Cobarruvias says: Christi Craddick can receive a campaign salary only if she's not the speaker's dependent child.  But she can only get the state health insurance by being declared his adult dependent.